Big Band of the Week – Screaming Art Large Ensemble

This nineteen-piece big band is unique not only in name, but also in mission. They play only compositions by their leader, Dylan Schuman, who graduated from Towson University in 2016, majoring in jazz/commercial trumpet performance. Schuman formed Screaming Art Large (SAL) a few months later. He explains that his compositions include “elements of swing, improvisation, chamber, spoken word, and rock sounds.” He credits The John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, Michael Formanek’s Ensemble, Tigran Hamasyan, and Kenny Wheeler as “heavy influences.” Like many of the Baltimore area’s big bands, Screaming Art Large has a deep bench, with over fifty musicians having played in it so far.

Dylan is the third person in his family to play jazz trumpet. His father, Alan, has played in the Reisterstown Jazz Ensemble since its inception. His brother Adam, also a Towson University grad, plays in SAL, Bedlam Brass and with Sarah Sullivan and the New Old Fashioneds.

The band recorded its debut album this summer: a 52-minute suite, “the Chronicles of Aryeh,” comprising seven pieces. Dave Ballou, head of the Jazz/Commercial Music Department at Towson University, produced the album, which was recorded at Baltimore’s Heartwood Studio by Edwin Huet. The album will be released next winter at The Crown, in Baltimore City’s Station North Arts and Entertainment District, where the band has staged its last two performances.

Earlier this year Schuman received a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award for composition. Because the award was based on his compositions for Screaming Art Large, Schuman says, “I personally feel like it was awarded to the band.”

The web site http://www.dylanschuman.com includes a 32-minute video of Screaming Art Large with vocals and a nine-and-a-half minute video of the band with wordless vocals and spoken word.

This article continues our series on area big bands — if you missed any of them, you can catch them here at Big Band of the Week.